China’s Party Princelings Fight for a Chance to Go Back to the Future

The Sydney Morning Herald’s John Garnaut reports that many of the “princeling” sons of China’s party elders are unhappy with the direction China is going and are trying to gain power and influence to push their own varying agendas:

“History is a genuine depiction of the past, but it can never be completely genuine,” writes General Liu Yuan, in a preface to a book with the same name, Changing Our View of History and Culture.

And for anyone who misses the point: “History is a mirror which reflects the present, and the future as well.”

Liu’s father, Liu Shaoqi, was China’s second-ranked leader until he was vilified in 1968 and then air-brushed out of history after dying in jail in 1969. Liu writes his father back into contemporary relevance while also boosting the patriarchal claims of his institutional vehicle, the People’s Liberation Army.

[…] “Both Liu Yuan and [the fellow expected to be the next president] Xi Jinping are demanding a return to the founding fathers and to the basics of the party ‘s ideology,” says Sun, referring to a speech by Xi last week at the party school. This, together with the Mao-singing antics of a third important princeling, Bo Xilai, begins to explain China’s backsliding on economic reform and aggression in foreign policy in recent years.

Bo Zhiyue, from the National University of Singapore, says the leadership is at the crossroads, the retreat to socialist ideology is being driven by fear, and now “there is also jockeying for power among princelings in the name of the legacies of their fathers”.

Read more about the current ideological battle between left and right in China via China Media Project.

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